Life is Just a Bowl of … Tart Cherries

Today I attended a meeting of the Sisters in Crime writers’ club where the speaker was none other than my fellow novelist Rick Bylina. His talk on social media was both informative, and, as always, entertaining. He stressed the importance of blogging, which inspired a great lunch discussion. All writers, myself included, sometimes struggle with this. You’re already a writer, so you have your book(s). So what do you write about in your blog?

Rick wisely advised us to just be ourselves. Just because you’re a writer doesn’t mean you have to blog about the dangers of dangling   participles or how the comma is provoking civil unrest in Denmark. It’s perfectly fine to blog about your cat, the dogwoods you’ve just planted, or even just the kind of day you’re having. There is always a connection to your inner world, the most precious domain of the writer. It was to Rick’s credit that we all left the meeting newly inspired about our blogs.

On that note, yesterday I travelled to a cherry orchard just north of the state border. The purpose was cherry-picking, more precisely, to take advantage of the two-week window in early June when you can pluck those delicious garnets of the cherry world: Montmorency cherries. Unlike sweet Bing or black cherries, Montmorencies are tantalizing tangy; small but nearly perfectly round and so glossy that they look as if each one had been polished by the cherry fairies. Imagine a tree filled with marachino cherries and you’re there! Cocktail time. Pie time. Cobbler time.

Having baked with my share of sweet cherries, which are delicious in their own right, I had always wondered what makes tart cherries so coveted for the pie. Well, just a few hours later, after taking two crumb-topped cherry pies out of the oven, I knew. The piquant, mouth-watering flavor of the Montmorency gives your pie an irresistible kick. It’s the conflict in your novel. The menace in your plot. The poignancy in your happy ending.

Such reflections are the benefit of taking a day away from the writing. You’re also rewarded with a host of new sensory experiences and characters galore, from hippies to cherry rustlers to the two men who nearly came to blows in the parking lot about a little bump-up.

Then there was the wise-cracking orchardess (orchardatrix?) who was pushing the weary cherry pickers to the scale and then on to the cash register. When asked if it was okay to eat the cherries without washing them first (even though we’d been sneaking them all day), she said: “Ain’t nothing wrong with them cherries. If there were, I’d be dead by now.”

 

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